News Ticker


EERC Employees Give Back to Our Community

It’s been a busy year at the EERC. While our dedicated staff is always working to advance and improve America’s energy future, employees are also actively engaged in helping those in our community as well.

The EERC’s Social Cause Committee worked with the Grand Forks Northlands Rescue Mission Backpack Program and St. Joseph’s Social Care Free Summer Lunch Program to provide food for children in need in our community in 2018. The Backpack Program is committed to ending hunger in our community. During the school year, over 600 children each week receive a grocery bag filled with two breakfasts, two lunches, two snacks, and two beverages. Children who do not have enough to eat are able to have food throughout the weekend because of this program and those who invest in it. It costs approximately $1400 to cover a weekend of food for the children in the community. The Social Cause Committee organized fundraisers throughout the year to cover this. Through “penny wars,” raffle ticket sales, bake sales, and other fundraisers coordinated by the Social Cause Committee, the EERC raised $12,382 in 2018! In the summer months, EERC staff helped serve over 700 meals to children through the Free Summer Lunch Program, committing over 30 volunteer hours.

“I’m continually impressed by my coworkers’ willingness to volunteer and help,” said Ryan Klapperich, senior hydrogeologist and EERC Social Cause Committee Member. Klapperich organized the delivery of the food totes for the Backpack Program during the school year. “The key to making these deliveries work was acquiring commitments from multiple individuals to serve as drivers throughout the school year. I asked for help, and five individuals made the commitment to be a driver with very little additional encouragement on my part. On top of that, many other volunteers have stepped in to help the drivers with making the deliveries. Everyone’s commitment has allowed us to turn a big weekly job for Mission staff into an occasional task for individual EERC volunteers by sharing the effort. It’s all worked out better than I could have hoped.”

A highlight of the fundraisers was the “31 Days of Giving” raffle, held in March. Over $8000 worth of prizes were donated by EERC employees and area businesses. The raffle had daily drawings for prizes and raised over $7500 for the Backpack Program.

EERC Social Cause Committee Cochairs Janelle Ensrud and Michelle Olderbak led the initiatives throughout the year and coordinated volunteer opportunities for EERC staff. Of their colleagues, Ensrud and Olderbak said, “The generosity of the EERC family is truly humbling and never-ending. We are so happy to be part of such an amazing team.”

In addition to the Social Cause activities, the EERC also just wrapped up the 18th year of the “Adopt a Family” program over the holiday season, where employees shop for gifts on a family's wish list. This event helps provide school supplies, winter clothing, Christmas presents, and food and gas cards for families in need. This Grand Forks School District program was initiated to help the increasing number of families who fall through the cracks in the system. These are working parents who are unable to make ends meet or children who have been separated from their parents and are living with relatives, all in the greater Grand Forks area.

To read more about EERC social cause events, click here.

Innovative Pipeline Consortium Marks New Highlights

An industry-led consortium program called iPIPE, or intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program (, announces new milestones.

iPIPE is a novel program with a mission of assisting in the commercialization of emerging, game-changing technologies for gathering pipeline leak detection and gathering pipeline leak prevention. The program invests financial resources and physical assets in emerging technologies that may result in new tools in industry’s tool belt, and it attempts to help those technologies become commercially viable. iPIPE consortium members include pipeline operators Hess Corporation, Equinor, Oasis Midstream Partners, Goodnight Midstream, ONEOK, Andeavor, DCP Midstream, and Whiting Petroleum Corporation. The program is cofounded by the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

iPIPE Wins Williston API Industry Innovation Award

The Williston chapter of the American Petroleum Institute (API) held its annual awards dinner Friday, November 16. Several awards for outstanding industry performance and environmental stewardship were announced. These awards are peer-nominated awards, demonstrating the respect of industry peers for outstanding achievements. At this event, iPIPE was awarded an Industry Innovation Award for its unique collaborative industry approach to dramatically improving pipeline safety in the state of North Dakota.

Present at the event to accept on behalf of the consortium were representatives from Goodnight Midstream, Oasis Midstream Partners, Equinor, and ONEOK. Tone Macia, Oasis Midstream’s construction and engineering manager, touted the significance of the award, saying, “iPIPE was honored to be nominated by our industry peers for this award. We believe that this acknowledgment of innovation paves the way for more collaborative efforts that contribute positively to industry operations and public understanding of our business.”

iPIPE Holds Second Technology Selection Round

iPIPE held its second round of technology selections on October 30 and 31, 2018, in Williston, North Dakota. Of the nine proposals presented, four new technologies were selected to be pursued in 2019 through iPIPE. The technology selection process is modeled after ABC’s hit television program, “Shark Tank.”

“The coalition of businesses and partners that make up iPIPE was impressed with our latest round of submissions for new technologies and is proud to be pushing forward with these new ideas,” said Brent Lohnes, general manager of Hess in North Dakota. “It’s great to see the level of excitement for this industry-led initiative, and we hope to see even more practical applications that can help us reach our goals.”

The companies and their technologies selected for codevelopment activities in 2019 include the following:
Satelytics, Inc. – uses machine learning algorithms (artificial intelligence) to identify pipeline leaks using large sets of data from satellites, drones, and commercial aircraft. This will continue a second phase of work previously funding during 2018.
Insitu, Inc. – uses drones flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), multiple sensors, and advanced analytics to identify pipeline leaks over large areas of operation.
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) – uses commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) cameras and machine learning algorithms to instantly identify hydrocarbon leaks.
Direct-C – uses film-embedded nanocomposites to directly measure hydrocarbon and saline leaks instantly.

Direct-C Chief Operating Officer David Scharff commented on the impact of iPIPE on companies offering emerging technologies, saying, “iPIPE is a truly unique program, offering companies like ours with promising technology the opportunity to complete development of the technology and simultaneously learn about specific industry needs and desires, making us even more competitive.”
Rendering of Direct-C pipeline technology.
During the next 3 years, iPIPE will invest cash, labor, hardware, and other resources in collaborative projects with each of the selected companies and conduct research to progress the technologies toward commercialization.

More than 40 emerging technologies for pipeline leak detection or pipeline leak prevention were evaluated for inclusion in the “Shark Tank”-style event. Twenty-one of these emerging technologies were invited to submit proposals to iPIPE, with nine proposals invited to present their emerging technologies to iPIPE’s industry panel of experts. “iPIPE continues to push the envelope, constantly seeking new technology that shows promise, but needs a bit of guidance to complete development and become commercial,” said iPIPE program manager Jay Almlie, Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC).

The goal of iPIPE is to develop and demonstrate cutting-edge technology that can prevent and/or detect gathering pipeline leaks in the state. iPIPE partners will do this through a process of testing and selecting emerging technologies, documenting demonstrations and results, and ultimately facilitating the adoption of the best, new technologies into North Dakota pipeline operations.

For more information or if you are interested in becoming a member, contact Jay Almlie,